Monday, June 3, 2013

Stumped on my review

I am not sure how I want to review my latest read. It left me feeling pulled several different ways as a reader. So I guess I will start with... I did not enjoy nor despise this novel. I am Switzerland and stand neutral to its success and fame; a little leery as to why it has been so critically acclaimed.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The story will definitely tug your heart strings. It will certainly remind you that you are a fragile human susceptible to so many pitfalls. But, does it invoke the craving to read it again? For me, not really. When I feel that way about such a high-praised novel, I almost feel something has gone wrong with me; until I step back from the glitz and glamour and realize it is just another novel in the millions published that just happened to catch someone powerful's eye.

While a compelling story plot, the writing was chunky to me. Obviously, he is covering a vast expanse of time in a limited manuscript. There are better ways to smooth out the time flow in my opinion. I felt the dates at some of the chapter starts were random instead of a useful timeline picture that would have gone well with this "memoir" style fiction. After clunking along in a jalopy banging my head against the window, I did not even get the satisfaction of a conclusive ending. Nothing more than a brief sentence alluding to the future key to success and circular reference to tie father to son to brother. Disappointed.

It contains all the adolescent angst without the clarity and wisdom maturity brings. People do come to conclusions about their past misdeeds. It builds them up or takes them out. Hosseini's characters lack depth. We are given many flowery descriptions of Amir's angst, but little of his growth. We continuously relive his hardships but do not glory in his triumphs. Periphery characters are extremely two dimensional though they interact with the protagonist throughout his entire life. How tissue-paper thin characters made a compelling story lies only in the "actions" that most readers can relate to through a personal experience.

Now that I have probably blasphemed in the eyes of millions. I will add... I enjoyed the cultural aspect to show a side of the world I have never learned about but want to continue educating myself. I believe that history is a strong bonding unit. All countries should learn the histories as written by other countries, should read their culturally significant authors. Reading foreign interpretations of America has opened my eyes to many of the layers of history I learned about every year for 12 years. So at least this book has opened me to a new avenue and a new pursuit of higher learning. I will give it praise there. As a work of fiction though, it failed me.

Here is to the return of a favorite author!